When It's Time to Move On: What to Do With Old Skis // Helpful Ski Hints
Let’s paint a picture. You’ve been salivating over those new 2017 skis from your favorite brand. They changed the rocker profile, added carbon to the tips and tails, you demoed them, and your mind is made up: you need those skis. When you walk into the garage or basement, however, you’re stared down by your old skis. Sure, they could have some life left, and they might only have a couple of seasons of use, but you’re ready to move on. But what do you do with them? We’ve put together this guide to ensure your old skis continue their glory instead of living out the rest of their days collecting dust in the corner.
So, what do you do with old skis? We are breaking this down into four possible options: sell, donate, repurpose, and recycle. Skis don’t need to end up in the dumpster, there’s always something constructive you can do with them.
First off is the sell option. Skiing isn’t an inexpensive sport, so getting a little extra coin to put towards those news skis or a spur-of-the-moment powder chasing trip feels pretty darn good. However, selling skis can be challenging and somewhat intimidating. The first thing to determine is how much your skis are worth. How old are they? How many days have they been skied? What was the initial retail price? Have they been recently tuned and waxed, or do they have rusty edges and core shots? All of this goes into the resale price of a ski. Then we have the bindings. Most bindings are only adjustable by about 20mm, which limits the boot sizes that could potentially fit. Most buyers will understand that they may need to have a binding remounted when buying a used ski, but it’s important to communicate what size boot they were originally set to.
If you’ve decided to sell your old skis, there are multiple ways to go about doing so. Selling locally is great if you live in an area where skiing is a popular activity. Craigslist is really the go-to site for selling skis locally, but there are also methods like Front Porch Forum, your local newspaper classifieds, and more. Then there are ski swaps. Many high schools or local ski programs will host ski swaps where a portion of the revenue benefits their team, club, or local ski hill. If you’re unsure about selling your skis on your own, this is a great option as most ski swaps will help you determine an appropriate asking price. Ski swaps are also typically staffed with knowledgeable skiers who will, hopefully, point a customer to your skis and you’ll walk away with a check.
Selling locally, however, is not always an option if there’s not a big ski community, which brings us to selling your skis online. When selling used skis online, it’s best to have a relatively current model that’s in good condition. If they’re not in good condition, provide the best possible description and as many photos as possible. eBay is a great option for selling used skis online, but don’t forget about forum sites like TGR, EpicSki, Newschoolers, PugSki, and more. Not sure about what price tag to put on your old skis? Search around on sites like these for similar models in similar condition; you’ll start to get a sense of their price range.
Selling your old skis and putting the money towards your new set makes a lot of sense, but also takes some effort on your end and can be a time-consuming, somewhat frustrating process at times. If your skis are still in relatively good condition, but you’ve decided you don’t feel the need to sell them, consider donating! As we mentioned, skiing is not an inexpensive sport. Donating your old equipment is a fantastic way to help spread the love of skiing to others and something we strongly recommend doing if you’re able. There are many organizations that will accept donations of ski gear. Vermont Adaptive out of Killington, VT and the Adaptive Sports Center in Crested Butte, CO, among many other adaptive programs will gladly accept donations. Talking with Vermont Adaptive, they mentioned that the gear should be relatively current. They often have people attempting to donate really old equipment that would be unsafe if reapplied for an adaptive skier. They also mentioned that they are unable to accept helmet donations due to the potential liability.
In addition to adaptive programs, many schools, youth ski organizations, and clubs will accept donations of ski gear and give them to those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it. The Boys and Girls Club of America will always accept donations, but contact your local schools, ski hills, and recreation departments. Chances are they will be thrilled to accept your donations and you’ll likely be providing hours of smiles for the person who ends up with your gear.
Alright, so we’ve gone over what to do with your old gear if it’s still in reasonably good condition. What about those skis with too many core shots, that pair where you snapped the tail landing a little backseat, or those straight skis from 1979 that have travelled from garage to garage to basement over your entire life for no apparent reason other than nostalgia? Well, there are two things you can do with them other than throwing them in the dumpster (please don’t throw them in the dumpster): repurpose or recycle.
Repurposing skis has become a pretty popular hobby over recent years much in thanks to the DIY movement that has swept the nation. There are so many things you can turn your old skis into, so we’ve made a list of our favorites:
Create a Relaxing Adirondack Chair:
If you live in a mountain town, chances are you’ve seen an Adirondack Chair partially made from skis. They’re relatively straight forward to build if you have some basic carpentry skills and end up looking fantastic. There are multiple step by step guidelines available online, like this one from –Black and Decker. If you have some ski pieces left over, consider adding a side table or foot rest!
Make a Shot Ski:
This one is pretty darn easy. Go to the store, buy some shot glasses (we recommend plastic for those who like to get crazy, but go with glass if you’re the classy type), buy some glue, and glue them to the ski. Done. There are some companies that sell premade shot skis and attachments, but where’s the fun in that?
Build Yourself a Sled:
When my older brother, Scott, was about 12 he took a pair of my uncle’s old straight skis, drilled some 2x4s along them, then drilled a sheet of ¾ inch plywood to the top. Sled! Was it pretty? Absolutely not. Did it go extremely fast over crust layered snow? Absolutely! There are some more elaborate sled designs out there, or you can go crazy and design your own. We absolutely love this one from the DIY Network that integrated a wheelbarrow. Genius!
Turn it into Wall Décor:
This one is easy too. Take your favorite pair of old skis and display them on the wall in your living room! The classic X pattern looks great on doors, or you can horizontally mount a single ski above a fire hearth. That way when you’re entertaining guests they’ll know for sure that you’re crazy about skiing, whether that’s good or bad.
If You've Got Enough, Make a Fence:
Fencing is expensive! And over the past 40 years of skiing you’ve collected about 100 pairs of skis. Consider using them as fencing to create an entirely customized, colorful look. This skatepark in Morrisville, VT took it to the next level by using skis as siding for the entire park! Basically the same concept as a fence, and super cool looking.
Like Music? Make a Ski Pole Wind Chime:
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Hack up your old ski poles into different lengths and hang them together to create wind chimes. Expert tip: vary the diameter and length of the poles and thickness of the metal if possible to create different notes.
Get Your Green Thumb Merit Badge with a Ski Boot Flower Pot:
This isn’t for skis, obviously, but old ski boots can make pretty cool flower pots! Our physical store, Pinnacle Ski and Sports, has decorated their front deck with a series of different boots and flowers. Easy, colorful, and fun!
There’s a lot more you can turn skis into. We’ve seen some really cool coat racks, wine racks, picture frames, and so much more. There are also companies like Green Mountain Ski Furniture that will do it for you if you lack the necessary woodworking skills. Check out their website, it’s a great place to get ideas even if you plan on doing the work yourself.
Finally, if your skis are too old and beat up to sell or donate and you don’t feel like repurposing them into some kind of creative furniture or décor piece, you can actually recycle them. The Snowports Industries of America (SIA) has a ski recycling program. The SIA Ski Recycling Program (SSRP) has recycled over 500 tons of used ski equipment and used the materials to manufacture other snowsports products. There are also companies that recycle skis and manufacture retail fixtures that are then used in ski shops. Check with your local ski resort or a local shop, chances are you can drop off your skis to be recycled.
See? Those skis collecting dust in your garage can still have a fantastic, fulfilling life! Whether you’re selling, donating, repurposing, or recycling, there’s always something constructive to do with your old equipment and all of them are much better for the sport, environment, and society in general than having them end up in a landfill.